U.S. Congress repeals meat labelling law

OTTAWA -- A potential trade war between Canada and the United States was all but averted Friday when Congress passed a massive spending bill that also repealed a controversial meat labelling law.

See Full Article

The 2,000-plus pages of legislation contained a two-page rider that scrapped the U.S. labelling law, known as COOL, which had become a major irritant among Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The legislation now only needs a signature from President Barack Obama.

The World Trade Organization granted Canada and Mexico the right to impose $1 billion in punitive tariffs on various U.S. products after finding that the country-of-origin labelling provisions on beef and pork products violated international trade rules.

Canada and Mexico argued that the measure was nothing more than thinly disguised protectionism. Supporters said consumers have a right to know where their meat comes from.

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay both welcomed the passage of the legislation, calling Friday "a great day for Canada."

"This is a real vindication of the power and significance of the WTO dispute-resolution mechanism, which has secured a real win for Canada," Freeland said in a teleconference call from Nairobi, where she and MacAulay were taking part in a trade conference.

"This is a decision that will have a real and immediate benefit to the Canadian economy."

Freeland said she expects the labelling regime will disappear quickly.

"We will be monitoring the situation to make sure there are no problems in this area," MacAulay added.

The ministers thanked Canadian diplomats and some American politicians and industries which supported doing away with the measure.

The Senate had been the last barrier because domestic political interests kept some senators opposed to repealing the law.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the Republican chair of the Senate's powerful agriculture committee, expressed relief Friday at the news. Roberts said the retaliatory measures would have been damaging to various sectors of the U.S. economy.

"From the ranchers in Kansas to the jewelry makers on the East Coast, every state had something to lose from keeping mandatory COOL intact," Roberts said in a statement.

The WTO ruling, the latest in a series that Canada won in the dispute, cleared the way for widespread retaliation.

The targeted U.S. products included not only agricultural ones such as cattle, pork, apples, rice, maple syrup and wine, but extended to non-agricultural products, such as jewelry, office chairs, wooden furniture and mattresses.

Freeland said Canada still intends to obtain formal approval next week from the WTO for retaliation, even though the tariffs won't be imposed.

"We think that it is prudent of us to take the legal process to its formal, technical conclusion," she said.

On Friday, the Senate voted by a 65-33 margin to approve the massive bill that included $1.14 trillion in new spending in 2016 and $680 billion in tax cuts in the decade to come.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Wellsite pipeline leak spills 560 barrels of oil into northern Alberta swamp

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY - The Alberta Energy Regulator says a pipeline owned by Calgary-based Mount Bastion Oil & Gas Corp. has leaked about 560 barrels of an oil and water mixture at a northern Alberta wellsite. AER spokesman Jordan Fitzgerald says the regulator has staff supervising cleanup by the company at the site about 65 kilometres northwest of Red Earth Creek, which is about 420 kilometres north of Edmonton. Source
  • Uber customers torn between scandals and service

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- Uber has managed to hold the title of world's largest ride-hailing service despite its seemingly endless string of scandals. Its latest misbehaviour involving a data breach coverup revealed this week could be the impetus for people to ride elsewhere -- or keep looking the other way. Source
  • Freedom Mobile announces iPhone X dates, provides update on network rollout

    Economic CBC News
    Freedom Mobile will begin taking orders for the Apple iPhone X and iPhone 8 models starting Friday, with the smartphones in its stores on Dec. 8. While that's more than a month after Canada's three national wireless carriers began selling the iPhone X, it will be the first time Freedom Mobile has a full roster of Apple smartphones to offer its customers. Source
  • Highlights of sweeping new Ontario labour laws, including a minimum wage boost

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario's Liberal government passed a host of changes to labour laws Wednesday. Here are some highlights of the legislation, including the centrepiece minimum wage increase: -- Minimum wage rises from $11.60 an hour to $14 on Jan. Source
  • Canadian grocers expand online services after Amazon acquires Whole Foods chain

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Metro Inc. is looking to expand its online grocery offerings to Ontario next year, making it the latest Canadian retailer to ramp up its e-commerce options in the face of potential competition from Amazon. Source
  • Unknown number of Canadians may be caught up in Uber data breach

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's federal privacy commissioner says Uber Technologies Inc. can't confirm how many Canadians may be affected by an October 2016 security breach that the riding-hailing firm initially tried to cover up. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada told CBC News it has reached out to the company to ask for more information about the breach. Source
  • Iran-based hacker charged with trying to extort HBO

    Economic CBC News
    An Iran-based hacker plotted to extort HBO out of $6 million US by threatening to release stolen episodes and scripts of hit shows, such as Game of Thrones, at one point taunting the network with a twist on a catch phrase form that series: "Winter is coming. Source
  • HBC says Competition Bureau's mattress pricing probe has cost it $425K US

    Economic CBC News
    Hudson's Bay Co. says it has spent more than $425,000 US to date to comply with demands for documents from Canada's competition watchdog as it investigates alleged deceptive pricing practices. The retailer says in a filing with the Competition Tribunal that it has invested more than 6,500 person-hours to produce 37,000 documents in response to the Competition Bureau's complaint made last February. Source
  • HBC says Competition Bureau's mattress pricing probe has cost it US$425,000

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Hudson's Bay Co. says it has spent more than US$425,000 to date to comply with demands for documents from Canada's competition watchdog as it investigates alleged deceptive pricing practices. The retailer says in a filing with the Competition Tribunal that it has invested more than 6,500 person-hours to produce 37,000 documents in response to the Competition Bureau's complaint made last February. Source
  • Business journalist Amanda Lang will return to BNN in January 2018

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - After six years at the CBC and just under a year at the now-defunct Bloomberg TV Canada, business journalist Amanda Lang will return to Business News Network in January. CTV News president Wendy Freeman announced Wednesday that Lang will also contribute to other Bell Media properties including CTV News and iHeartRadio. Source